Fresh produce should be stored as soon as possible, shortly after inspection, to insure peak freshness and quality. Exposure to extreme heat and extreme cold should be avoided, as both will alter the ripening process and potentially damage your produce. Every hour that produce is left out 1 day of shelf life is lost.
Using the "FIFO" (first in first out) method and dating product helps reduce waste. This helps ensure proper rotation of the items.
There are three primary types of storage conditions suitable to most produce:
Cool, Dry and Well-Ventilated
Items such as bananas, avocados, tomatoes, onions and potatoes prefer a cool, dry and well-ventilated storage space. Importantly, these items should not be stored in direct contact with each other, as natural ripening agents will cross-effect and expedite ripening, shortening the lifespan of your fresh produce.
Refrigerated and Dry
The most common class of stored items. Common produce that should be kept refrigerated and dry includes iceberg lettuce, apples, mushrooms and strawberries. Some other items, for example, asparagus, should have their cut ends kept moist, but should otherwise be kept dry.
Refrigerated and Moist
Members of the cabbage and greens family require moist refrigeration. These include broccoli, cabbage, hearty greens and spinach. It is generally recommended that these commodities be topped with ice during storage.
Ethylene is a natural ripening agent found in several fruits and vegetables. It is often used by produce growers to artificially expedite the ripening process of particularly susceptible commodities such as bananas and tomatoes. The principal works equally well at home, as anyone who has ever placed a peach in a paper bag to speed its ripening will attest.
While some produce thrives in ethylene gas, others deteriorate quickly in high-ethylene environments. It’s important to store sensitive commodities away from heavy ethylene emitters. Across the board, bruised or damaged fruit is highly-susceptible to ethylene gas.
These commodities emit high quantities of ethylene: These commodities are highly sensitive to ethylene: